As you probably know, Steve Jobs passed away at his home on October 5, 2011. Although I have little to share in terms of the facts, I couldn’t let his passing go by without a very personal tribute.
Roughly about the time that I was in the 4th grade, my mom brought home the Apple II computer from the school where she taught. I had toyed around with a Commodore 64, but weekends with the Apple II left me inspired. I loved programming. Starting with the classic BASIC “Hello” program that printed out, “Hello, [yourname]” in various colors, I couldn’t get enough. And then there was Oregon Trail, The Little People Computer Project, The Print Shop and other classic software packages. I quickly became “the computer expert” at home and at school.
Later, as I attended a micro-society school, I managed the bank with our school computer. That was in 1982. By the time I started high school, I could solidly program in BASIC and knew more about computers than almost anyone I knew. My high school had to create programming classes for me after my first year, and I ended up with an independent study my senior year. I won a special award when I graduated for being the first person at the high school to take four years of computer classes. I’m geeky like that.
I took a departure from Apple when I left for college (which required a PC purchase), but by then the damage had been done. I was a hardcore techie, gadget fiend and computer junkie. I returned to my roots later when I worked in my college biology lab (Mac-based, of course).
So I didn’t know Steve Jobs personally. I didn’t follow his career path religiously. I can’t even tell you how many years he spent in total with Apple. But I can say this: He had a profound impact on my life. He changed the course of not only my career, but my education, my friendships, and even my marriage. It is tragic that he died so young, but I hope it was with the knowledge that he helped changed the world as we know it.
Rest in peace, Steve Jobs.